I recently saw an episode of a nationally televised woodworking show in which the host said lumber should be treated with pesticide before being placed in storage. I sent an inquiry to the host, via his personal web site, asking for the specific pesticide he uses and about any potential hazards in working wood treated in this manner. I received no response. I personally think it was an irresponsible statement to make and, to my knowledge, there are no pesticides, available to the general public, that will prevent the entry of woodborers. Would your experts care to comment?
Michael Dresdner: There are indeed potential problems cutting and sanding wood that is treated, whether you do it or others do it. In fact, this is a good time to remind ourselves to wear good dust masks when cutting pressure treated wood. If the wood is stored correctly – stickered in an appropriately dry area and up off the ground – you should not need to add any chemicals to it. Yes, it will pick up the normal assortment of spiders and such, but they will not hurt the wood.
Joanna Werch Takes: Pesticides containing a form of the element boron can offer protection to your wood from invading insects. (As for whether it’s 100 percent protection & well, as the saying goes, I’m only willing to make that commitment for death and taxes.) Boron itself is an element (one of those things you find in the periodic table); it generally shows up in use as either boric acid or sodium borate.
While it’s not a good idea to consume – or ingest – mass quantities of the stuff, if you use proper precautions, you shouldn’t have that big of an exposure to it. (Always apply chemicals while wearing a mask and gloves, and do so in a well-ventilated area.”) And applying a stain or varnish over it will seal it in.
Lee Grindinger: There are pesticides available for this purpose – Bora Care and Timbor are examples. These are effective on unfinished wood only. Toxicity is addressed by the manufacturers. I have not seen the show so I cannot say whether the host was acting responsibly or not.